Shape and material bonuses

So my magus is not an Alchemist and doesn't have any associated magical virtue (let alone a special mystery virtue) that allows for the invention of new shape or material bonuses for his work.

What is the mechanism for discovery outside of any special virtues? If there isn't one, should there be (I mean, we currently have something like 450 in 5th edition canon as it is)?




I thought the list was the items that have been found, and that a character could find a new one by experimentation, and agreement with the GM. Its more like agreeing in your saga than ShapeX grants bonus X, and you're done. Is an in-game mechanic needed for characters?

By experiement? Hm, I suppose using the original research rules could work. I like that.

What would be a good threshold in terms of breakthrough points? Perhaps (proposed bonus)x(scope multiplier)? Scope multiplier could be as simple as

extremely narrow (say, "poisoning wine") ==> x1
minor magical focus ==> x3
major magical focus ==> x5
Hermetic Technique or equivalent ==> x7

Seems fair.

I think it's something the troupe should decide on. Personally, I'm not attracted to these sort of things and would just vote for troupe/SG agreement - if you want a bonus that's not in the books, talk to the SG, and if he feels it's appropriate you'll agree on something. It's assumed all magi know this "new" bonus, from general Magic Theory.

If you feel the saga will benefit from discovering/inventing new bonuses, I guess Original Research is a reasonable mechanic. I remember I liked the later mechanics (Hedge Magic?) better, however. Regardless, I would still demand "reasonable" discoveries - there simply isn't necessarily a shape that gives a +7 bonus to all Ignem spells... the available bonuses would still be up to the troupe, and I'd strongly encourage to consider that only Ancient Magic (and/or Hedge Magic) can provide the Insight needed to gain some of these shapes or materials. That can help get the PCs involved in some related stories, at least.



I think that discovering new bonuses from existing materials should be the result of a process of investigation, somewhere along the lines of the rules for understanding unknown enchantments. The SG and/or troupe can determine the bonus and the magus simply figures it out.

The Vulgar Alchemy virtue, clumsy as it is, can still be used to develop new materials with bonuses under the control of the Magus. The sample Ink of Hermes is a good example of a new formulation, rather than an existing item like an oak leaf or a holly berry.

By far the best way to do it unless you really want to spend lots of character time on research truly new ones.

And for that, i would not recommend the rules for Original research, make it much simpler, like do a season of experimentation and if successful, you get a new bonus available, quality depending on skill and dieroll, or just SG/player(s) opinion.
It´s too small of a matter to spend a really long time on each bonus.

Well, Vulgar Alchemy from TMRE does one thing and one thing only: discover new shape and material bonuses. And it's classified as a 'Curious Common Virtue', meaning it is taught outside the mysteries. So perhaps the best thing your magus could do is find someone to initiate him into that virtue. It's a minor virtue, it shouldn't be too hard, and if your magus is serious about inventing new shapes and material bonuses, it will probably save time and effort in the long run. For that matter, the magus could even self-initiate himself, with some effort.

If you don't want to go that way, then at the minimum finding new shape and bonuses should be more difficult than for an alchemist (otherwise, what would be the point of the virtue ?), which means several seasons of work for each bonus: someone with Vulgar Alchemy might discover several bonus in one season, but they only apply to one specific enchantment at first; the alchemist must repeat the process with different enchantments and the same bonus to create a true category.

Original Research (HoH-TL) with an easy target, perhaps two or three times the bonus (less if the bonus seems well suited, more if it is a stretch), seems a good place to start: it takes at least two seasons (experimenting, then stabilizing), more if the magus isn't lucky or is trying for a strong bonus.

Alternatively, the rules for Integration from Ancient Magic and HMRE work just as well, and perhaps better: just studying a perfect example of the shape or material might be enough, without resorting to very risky experiments. An actual example of an enchanted item with the bonus (even if it is not Hermetic) would be even better.

Or maybe some seasons of research in the Great Library of Durenmar, or one of its equivalents, might uncover an obscure tractatus on Magic Theory from someone who has already done that work but has been forgotten.

Actually, thnking about it, I like this.
An old, substandard tractatus on Magic Theory which - in it's own rather rambling way - describes just how to integrate (Whatever you needed) into a device.
Too bad it's Quality 4 :wink:

I think of it as a difference between two sorts of questions. The normal hermetic magus asks "I wonder what mystical effects this oak leaf could have?", investigates it in his laboratory, and takes whatever the SG and/or troupe feel is appropriate. The alchemist says "I'd really like something that gives me +4 Intellego bonuses. Now what do I have to mix up to get that?"